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    Airmen and Soldiers Work Together to Bring COVID-19 Testing to Grays Harbor

    Airmen and Soldiers Work Together to Bring COVID-19 Testing to Grays Harbor

    Photo By Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter | Airmen deployed from the 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base in...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter 

    Washington Air National Guard

    As COVID-19 testing capability grows Washington National Guard members are answering the call for help in the rural area of Grays Harbor County.

    Wearing full face masks, suits, gloves and boots, 27 Washington Air and Army Guardsmen are working together at a community based testing site providing assistance to the citizens of Grays Harbor, which includes Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano and other small towns along the Washington coast.

    Washington Guardsmen answered the call for help from Grays Harbor Emergency Management. The rural county needed to expand testing after having a very limited capability at the local hospital in Aberdeen, said Leonard Johnson, the Incident Commander for the Grays Harbor Public Health Department.

    Setting up the testing site was seamless as most of the Guardsmen previously worked at the Yakima Community Based Testing Site the previous week, according to 1st Lt. Daniel Baba, officer in charge of the test site. Baba is assigned to the 176th Engineer Company based at the Snohomish Armory and as a civilian works as a civil engineer for a consulting firm in Everett, Wash.

    The process for testing here is straightforward, if a citizen shows any of the COVID-19 symptoms, they can call the triage line to schedule a test. At the scheduled time, the citizen drives up in their car and is directed to various stations in the “hot zone,” which is where patients go through the testing process.

    In this zone, all test site workers must don appropriate personal protective equipment and strict protocols are followed to ensure everyone stays safe while assisting patients. They work in two hour shifts, with no food or water while in the PPE. After their shift is complete Guardsmen go through a thorough decontamination process.

    Although the chemical and decontamination process is arduous, Baba said it was an opportunity to put their practice to work.

    “It’s awesome to use our training in the real world,” said Baba. “You can see the big picture here but also see how it’s helping the local community.”

    Senior Airman Ryley Glick, a security forces fire team member with the 141st Security Forces Squadron, is part of the administrative team on site and sees how the Guard is helping in the community.

    “There are only so many resources here in the area so every person counts in this operation, from the medics who test, to the people who do traffic enforcement, to those in administration,” Glick said. “We’re lending extra hands to those who need it.”

    In his civilian job, Glick works for Les Schwab Tires in Spokane.

    Guardsmen have already received feedback regarding their work in Aberdeen.

    Kimberly McCaw, an operations section chief with Grays Harbor County Public Health wrote in an email that a citizen said, “She was treated with such great dignity and respect and was made to feel at ease during a difficult time… She was so impressed of [sic] the ease and professionalism.”

    If you would like to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test at the Grays Harbor Test Site please call 360-964-1850.



    Date Taken: 04.17.2020
    Date Posted: 04.17.2020 09:37
    Story ID: 367673
    Location: ABERDEEN, WA, US
    Hometown: OCEAN SHORES, WA, US
    Hometown: SPOKANE, WA, US

    Web Views: 189
    Downloads: 0